Connect, Activate Your Audience

“Your customers are sitting at a computer most of the day with thousands more options than ever before to listening to the radio. Why should they listen to you?”
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We often hear that “connection is key.” Nowhere is that more pertinent than in the radio business. How can a station keep listeners coming back? How to compete when there are new Web sites luring your listeners away? The session “How to Activate Your Listeners Online” is a part of this year’s NAB Show Radio Management Conference, which runs April 13–15.

“Your customers are sitting at a computer most of the day with thousands more options than ever before to listening to the radio. Why should they listen to you?” said Zach Braiker, president, Refine+Focus.

Braiker’s session will take a look at how to think about interactive media, then how to implement to create success for your station.

“The result will be activating your listeners online, both on your Web sites as well as places where your listeners more commonly spend their time online,” said Braiker.

Unique content is an important area that must be addressed.

“Create a process at the station that produces the content,” said Braiker. “Stations should leverage their brand, which means focusing on extending the on-air product online and providing expertise in the areas that deeply enrich your listeners’ lives.” He said this may include local events, original video or audio content, repurposed video and audio content from your morning show and other media you can filter and recommend online (such as YouTube videos).

ONLINE PRODUCT

Braiker stressed that his focus is not on online listening. “It’s online product. Listening is only one of the many tools a station can use to attract listeners online,” he said. “My hope is that a stations’ online product will be as good as their on-air, and that the promise of the brand on-air will be fulfilled online — just as fun, just as engaging, with just as much thought behind it.”

This session promises to improve your stations’ digital offering with a how-to guide applicable to all markets on incorporating new media into terrestrial media through online trends for audience engagement. Braiker recommends GMs, GSMs and marketers attend this session.

“Your stations’ online assets are an essential part of the brand,” he said. “From the sales perspective, the stronger your assets, the more revenue you can command from them. From a marketing perspective, your listeners’ lives are changing and interactive media will help you become increasingly more relevant to them.”


(click thumbnail)Zach BrandA related session, “Developing a Loyal At-Work Audience with Streaming” features Zach Brand, director of NPR Digital Media. The challenges of developing a measurable daytime audience with online streaming will be addressed.

“There is a strong work-day audience that many are not reaching,” said Brand. “Today’s audience is more likely to multitask and absorb information from multiple sources.”

So how do you, as a radio broadcaster, use that to extend and solidify your reach?

EXTEND, SOLIDIFY

Brand promises to cover issues including “product decisions for work-day consumption, the consumer use case – understanding how best to get content to audience, discussion of realistic and successful business models, and logistics of measuring success and making changes in response to your audience.” According to Brand, current trends involve ensuring your content is, in fact, consumable by the work-day audience. “From ubiquitous players to understanding the differences in environment are key ingredients to being successful.”

As for the future of streaming in the daytime, Brand points to advertising and other media.

“‘Attention Economics’ is an issue today and will only grow,” he said. “In addition to doing their jobs, people are consuming traditional Web sites, podcasts, streamed media, TV, terrestrial radio, HD radio and satellite radio. Add to that social media sites and tools, and there is an ever-increasing difficulty in getting through to your audience. Stations need to make sure they are using the best promotion tools to leverage existing and potential audiences, and then provide content.”


(click thumbnail)Mary CampbellCommunity service campaigns play an important role in connecting with your audience, as well. Mary Campbell, vice president/CFO, Omni Broadcasting Co., and Chris Redgrave, vice president/general manager, KSL(AM), will address this topic in the session “Connecting to Your Audience with Community Service Campaigns.”

This session will speak to a personal connection with the audience. Campbell and Redgrave both run stations that are Crystal Radio Award winners.

“Just as local news and information is important for radio to survive, so are community service campaigns integral,” said Campbell. “Localism is what we do best and is something you can’t find on satellite radio services or plugged into an mp3.” Campbell speaks to the emotional component when it comes to local broadcasters.

“We appeal personally to our listeners,” she said. “They will identify with us and our public service efforts and help to make them successful. The appeals we make during fundraising campaigns hit home for them and they respond positively. Local broadcasters also understand the problems and needs of their local communities and can respond immediately.”

Radio consultant Mark Lapidus contends the campaigns that connect the best do so by painting the picture with emotion.

“The audio canvas provided by radio is the most vibrant place available,” he said. “When used properly, with actualities from those who care about the cause, surrounded with the right commentary and music, a radio station is capable of generating an amazing connection that will motivate the local audience to action.”

Other Broadcast Management Conference sessions touch on connectivity, creativity, new revenue streams, leadership, unattended station operation, technological advances and, of course, political advertising in this election year.

The session “Focus on Leadership” will focus on generating content via online space and other platforms. Rob Curley of Washington Post Newsweek Interactive presents. “The Whole Enchilada: Getting the Most Out of Your Creative” offers creative strategies to entice listeners.

EMERGENCY MODE

“All Hands on Deck: Unattended Station Operation During an Emergency” will address plans a station must have in-place to react to a community emergency if the station is unattended at the time. This session will address how to best serve the public during an emergency.

“New Technologies: New Revenues” looks into new technologies’ creation of competition for radio, but also addresses unique and lucrative opportunities for groups willing to launch something other than run-of-the-mill options in order to better serve the audience and advertisers. “Radio Goes Video: The New Business Model of Monetizing Online Video” will address turning a station’s Web site into a money-maker with relevant video content.

“Producing, Positioning and Promoting Your Podcasting” features noted News/Talk specialist Holland Cooke of McVay Media. Political advertising takes center stage with the session “Political Advertising: Taming the Beast of 2008.”

At “What the World’s Best Radio Managers Do Best,” attendees will hear about strategies from radio experts from other countries for building audience and generating revenue and how these issues can be adapted for your local station.

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